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When things don’t work there’s always the workaround, but what happens when you have to workaround the workaround? - 01/30/11 08:38 PM
Over the weekend I have been plagued with numerous technology failures. After the first few, I was able to perform some workarounds to keep up with my weekend workload. But things have gone downhill from there. Now I am having to develop a new set of workarounds over and above the original stopgap measures. I have a lot of REO reports due on Monday, and it is critical that I am able to get the job done somehow. But now even the simplest of tasks involves running up and down the stairs several times! Even though I have spent a lot (13 comments)
We are often told that we should NOT make waves, or that those that rock the boat are destined to fail. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Quite often the pack mentality crushes creativity and squelches excellence. And the chances of being noticed as an individual worthy of consideration are diminished. Because our unique value proposition is what separates us from the norm and defines us as innovators or leaders in our field. If that means churning up the waters a bit and swimming upstream then so be it! Nobody ever said that achieving success was easy! Or that (21 comments)
Now this is why I live in the South! - 01/29/11 09:29 PM
As my friends in the Northeast continue to dig out from the last snowstorm, here in Newnan Georgia we have a beautiful and warm winter day! As temperatures neared 70 degrees, a lot of people were out and about getting a jump on some yard chores. In this part of the country, Spring usually arrives in earnest around March 1! It’s time for early pruning and planning the garden. And although we will have more bad weae next few weeks, now is the time to put down the gardening books and get busy! Today was probably just a tease, but my (18 comments)
Since the dawn of cognitive thought, human beings have attempted to predict the future. Old texts and manuscripts are rife with tales of fortunetellers and soothsayers that seemed to have the innate ability to peer into times yet to come. In the modern information age, we do have the ability to analyze trends based on empirical data, and can offer an educated guess about what lies ahead. But it is in fact only a guess because there are many dynamic variables that can change overnight. But if we can distance ourselves from science and mathematics and offer our predictions from (10 comments)
I had some early warning signs but I chose to brush them aside. Maybe it was just a bad day and the symptoms would take care of themselves. After all, it isn’t all that unusual to have a slowdown in activity. When you have been around as long as I have it has to be expected every now and then. But when I went to make some updates on my primary website and got an error message that declares “server not found” my heart started pounding. I immediately typed the URL in my browser and say the dreaded 404 error. (31 comments)
A plea to HUD and REO sellers: Turn up the HEAT! - 01/27/11 08:11 AM
There is nothing worse when showing property than to have the interior of the house is colder than the exterior ambient temperature. Prospective buyers rush through and try to see what they can in the darkness and head straight for the warmth of the car. What did the buyers actually see during their two minute visit? Usually not much and it is very difficult to make a purchase decision without a thorough examination of the property. And even though the plumbing is winterized, extreme cold can cause cracks in the drywall and other damage that occurs due to excessive expansion and (70 comments)
Is business picking up? Well, activity certainly is! - 01/26/11 08:59 AM
2011 has started off with a bang. And while it is still very difficult to get a property closed, the level of activity has risen dramatically. The undercurrent of phone calls, internet leads, and sign inquiries has been elevated from an occasional distraction to a repetitive mantra. There have been days when there is little time for anything else other than answering questions about properties and home-buying in general. Sellers are also stirring again and the sixth sense tingles with the possibility of a good Spring which is just a month or two away! All signs seem to point to a (19 comments)
The earth must be spinning backwards …I had two great experiences with large banks today. - 01/25/11 07:02 PM
Today was an unusual one. I had two calls from two different large national banks that were not only surprising, they were downright helpful. The first call was from a representative in a short-sale department that called ME with an updated status on one of my listings. I hadn’t even called her first, she just wanted me to know that we were on track and that the bank was hoping that we could continue to work together to accomplish our mutually beneficial task. The second call was from another large bank where I have a credit card account. They noticed that (16 comments)
Don’t bemoan Winter’s chill! Cold weather is for snuggling! - 01/25/11 12:51 PM
So far, the 2010-2011 winter has been a chilly one. There have already been several heavy snows, and plenty of frosty cold temperatures to go around. But there is something about cold weather that drives us to seek warmth by not only turning up the thermostat but also by snuggling up with a loved one by a warm fire with a steaming beverage or a bowl of hot stew. There is something very comforting about looking out at the frigid and bleak winter landscape from within the temperate coverage of a flannel blanket big enough for two. I love cold weather! (16 comments)
I will start off by saying that I am very careful about how I spend my money. I’m not cheap, but I try to avoid spending more that I should. As a result, whenever I need information or a computer program or free advice about anything I go straight to the Internet and do a Google search. Very often, I find exactly what I am looking for and it’s free. And while that is great in the short term, I wonder what the long term effects of this “expectation of not paying” will be. And has this notion of service (8 comments)
SEO is a wonderful thing! A properly optimized web presence can attract “clicks” from near and far. But what happens once a potential customer finds us? Do we deliver on our promise of “more information” or “additional details? When installing hyperlinks into web-pages, blogs, or paid ads it is most important to meet the promise of what the anchor text touts. Getting clicks is relatively simple. Avoiding a “bounce” is quite a bit trickier. It is imperative to not just use link anchor text for the purpose of attracting robots and spiders. We always need to consider that we are (18 comments)
“For what it’s worth:” Sometimes you have to go with your gut instinct! - 01/22/11 08:04 AM
A group of friends and I meet ‘every other Friday” at a local watering hole with instruments in hand and microphones at the ready. Informally known as “The Geezers,” we play typical bar fare with an occasional classic rock tune thrown into the mix. It’s a good way to keep our musical skills honed and when the crown really gets into the music it can be quite fulfilling. When a tavern patron asked last night if he could do a number, we politely said yes, and surprisingly the young man started into the Buffalo Springfield’s “For What it’s Worth.” And although (17 comments)
Some colleagues and I that have been in the business a long time have talked a lot about the changes in real estate as a profession. The job is nothing like the one I learned in 1984. Every aspect of the real estate process has changes, from agency to inspection to financing to marketing. Nothing is the way it was not all that long ago. Add to that the fact that the job is much harder now and pays a lot less than in the heyday of ready money and developments on every corner. Selling a home used to be (13 comments)
The price of gasoline goes affects our attitude about the economy more than it should! - 01/20/11 08:52 AM
For some inexplicable reason the price of gasoline has always been an attitude indicator for the American consumer. Never mind that a thirty or forty cents a gallon increase is peanuts compared to increased tax burdens, the annual cost of medical care, or the price of a college education. But the fact that these magic numbers with the little “nine” at the end are constantly flashed in front of our face has somehow unjustly anointed them as a barometer of the overall economy! Home buyers are saving THOUSANDS of dollars a year on housing expenses but are bemoaning the fact that (25 comments)
A plea to all of my REO sellers: Please clear up all title issues BEFORE you put the property on the market! - 01/19/11 08:25 AM
It has gotten to the point where it happens more often than not. A closing is delayed because there is an issue with the title to the property. Listing REO property is a lot of work. It requires weekly inspections, property management, and cash outlays. In most cases the listing agent is paying for the utilities and all repairs. So after all of the work has ALREADY been done, and there is a ready, willing and able buyer ready to close and move-in, these issues of title simply add to the stress and aggravation of everyone involved. It would be so (13 comments)
Sometimes it’s not the big things in life that affect us the most …often it’s the “tweaks!” - 01/18/11 09:06 AM
I just got my favorite computer up and running again after a catastrophic hard drive crash. It wasn’t that big of a deal, it took five minutes to install a new drive. Restoring the system took a few hours, and installing the backups was time consuming. And I elected to start “clean” with many of the applications. So everything is ALMOST just the way it was. Everything is present and accounted for, but a lot of my tweaks and fine-tuning efforts will have to be readjusted over time. Sometimes however, it IS the little things in life that make the difference. (21 comments)
These are trying times, and real estate as a profession is constantly under assault both from the market itself and from the consuming public. As information constantly becomes more readily available, the perception of the role of the real estate broker is often diminished. This often foregone conclusion is fundamentality incorrect. Even the most informed consumer does not have the same depth of experience nor the frequently honed technical skills as the field tested broker. A real estate transaction is fraught with risk, and the value of an experienced and competent agent cannot be overstated. I get calls from consumers (19 comments)
The big thaw … at last! - 01/15/11 06:38 PM
To say that it has been cold in the Atlanta Metro area for the last week in an understatement. The snow and ice that accumulated last Sunday night persisted all week as air temperatures barely reached the freezing mark. Finally today it warmed up enough to clear up most of the remaining ice on the roadways, which in some cases was several inches thick. As regional municipalities debate over what more could have been done to have averted the disaster, the fact remains that we are not equipped to deal with widespread icing and we will probably not change much in (7 comments)
I’m out early this Saturday morning helping a young couple find their own little piece of heaven. Despite the fact that many doom and gloom prognosticators now blatantly state that home ownership is no longer the American dream, this couple recognizes that this is a great time to buy as a hedge against inflation and for the pride of ownership. There is nothing more satisfying than being able to assist with such an important decision as buying their first house together. It’s an amazing part of this job that goes beyond money or career. It’s changing lives in a genuine and meaningful (24 comments)
How much is my land worth today? - 01/14/11 09:19 AM
I had an inquiry yesterday from an out-of-state resident that was curious as to what a parcel of land he purchased in 2007 might sell for today. Whenever I get one of these questions, I first find out as much about the property as I can by studying public records and looking at aerial photos. It turns out that this was a nice lot in a decent area that bordered a small lake. But unfortunately, like so many others, he had purchased his land near the peak of the price curve, and in one of the areas hardest hit by price (21 comments)
Over the last few days we have followed up with an inordinately large number of Internet leads that say that they already have a real estate agent here in Coweta County Georgia. In these cases, we always tell them that their agent of choice will do a great job for them. Then we wish them well and tell them that they are free to continue using our online tools and gather any information that they desire. But it makes me wonder why these buyers and sellers are not getting the answers they need from their agent. I wonder how these (53 comments)
I was asked this question yesterday, and it’s one of the most frequent inquires that I get. Everybody wants to know which way the real estate market is heading. But the truth is, this is one question that I cannot answer for certain. I am neither a physic nor a prophet and have no particular insight other than my daily experiences and some glaring facts: The flow of foreclosures has not abated, litigation threatens to plunge the market into even more chaos, and the ability to borrow money is constantly being curtailed. Buyers are cautious to the point of being (28 comments)
A winter storm has paralyzed the Metro Atlanta area. Snow, sleet and ice have closed all of the roads, and authorities are recommending that everyone remain at home. That’s just fine with me. I have my phone, computer, scanner and FAX machine and I can do just about everything I normally do during a work day except meeting clients. The storm serves as a reminder that technology has changed the way we do business. The virtual office is accessible from anywhere that has a connection to the Internet! I can do my reports, my marketing, my lead generation, and my (29 comments)
The NFL playoffs present some of the most exciting games of the football season. The premise is simple: Win, or go home! When everything is on the line and the entire season hanging in the balance, there is no room for conservative strategies. Taking a risk and succeeding can easily spell the difference between a loss and the end of the season or a win and moving on to the next round. The same principle applies to business. When you are competing for customers sometimes you have to pull out all of the stops. If you approach the job with (13 comments)
I just got back home from an ‘all-nighter at the emergency room. A family member was very ill and the paramedics were summoned. The ambulance crew was very professional and stabilized the patient for transport to the ER. I felt reassured that my dear one was going to be properly treated. Nothing could have been further from the truth. When we arrived, the waiting room was packed and we knew that we were going to be there for a while. What we didn’t know was that five hours later only two of the patients were actually called back to (25 comments)
I was going through some old film photographs this afternoon trying to locate a frame that will be used on a sign in the Sumter National Forest. The process of locating the correct film frame is very time consuming. There are no thumbnails or search functions, and my organization skills are somewhat questionable. So I am manually looking through box after box of transparencies and print negatives. It’s actually kid of fun, because I haven’t seen many of these photographs in years. Although I have thousands of film photos, it’s small potatoes compared to a single 16GB SD memory (10 comments)
Oh no, it’s the “S” word again for this weekend in Georgia! - 01/08/11 07:39 AM
2010 was an interesting weather year in the state of Georgia and it looks like the trend is going to continue in 2011! We are expecting our second winter storm of the season late this weekend. After a record breaking 110 days of 90 degree plus temperatures in the summer of 2010, December in Georgia was one of the coldest on record. And we were treated to a white Christmas for the very first time, which was a fitting finale for the holiday season. As we face another icy blast of winter, I’ll make certain that we have plenty of hot (24 comments)
Due to technical difficulties, we cannot respond to your offer on a Georgia HUD home. - 01/06/11 08:19 AM
There are some glitches on the official HUD website that are driving buyers and their agents totally up the wall. Potential buyers that have spent time and effort looking at a HUD home, writing an offer, AND depositing earnest money are not even getting the courtesy of a response to their bid. This problem is more than a mere nuisance. Without an official acceptance or rejection, what do we do with the earnest money that HUD requires us to collect it at the time of the offer? We have even LOST buyers that are frustrated and blame us because we are (24 comments)
Sometimes the best way to learn about your business is to “sell” it! - 01/05/11 08:01 AM
I was recruiting an agent for the team yesterday, and in the process I enumerated what we did, how we did it, and the tools that we have at our disposal. He was pretty impressed. And to tell you the truth, so was I! Sometimes we don’t realize that all of the money and effort that we have put into our businesses has actually resulted in a rather significant operation. It in nice to be occasionally reminded that after all is said and done, we know what we are doing and we do it with professionalism and gusto! When we finished, (15 comments)
Sometimes it takes a little extra effort and a calm demeanor to get the job done - 01/04/11 08:51 AM
The New Year has started out in typical fashion. There are plenty of deals being detoured that need to be guided back on track. The “it’s the holidays” excuse has already worn thin, and it’s time to rally the troops and get back to the business at hand. Some of the issues are totally out of my control. The system for purchasing HUD homes is on the verge of collapse. REO owners all of a sudden can’t locate their deeds of ownership. Tenants are staying in the homes past their agreed on date to vacate. I can’t change those things, but (16 comments)
The untold story of the current real estate crisis …Shoddy construction. - 01/03/11 08:07 AM
Over the last few years, I have visited countless foreclosed homes. The majority of these homes were built in the last three decades. And based on my personal experience, many of these houses suffer from incurable obsolescence. They simply need too much work to make them an affordable option for a purchaser. In many cases, the scenario of the courthouse steps sale is not due to the loss of a job or the inability to pay. The homeowner simply needs to sell but the house is falling apart and nobody wants to buy it. The house has essentially outlived its useful (69 comments)
Do I really need to talk to a lender before we see any houses? - 01/02/11 09:39 PM
There is no question that the last three years have brought about many changes in the mortgage industry. And NOTHING has been implemented that makes it EASIER to get a mortgage. All borrowers are now placed under every imaginable type of scrutiny and the demands for addition documentation and explanations now span decades instead of years! Sellers want to know that prospective purchasers have the ability to secure the funds needed to close. In most cases, sellers are requiring a specific loan pre-approval rather than a less definitive letter of prequalification As a result the first step is purchasing a home (16 comments)
Starting the New Year Off with a bang! - 01/01/11 09:21 AM
2011 is finally here, and as we recover from the revelry of the celebrations, it’s time to sober up and get back to work! I have always felt that the first two weeks of January set the tone for the rest of the year. With the holidays behind us and as the “ordinariness” of the dark days of winter descend upon us, there is nothing to distract us from getting our businesses moving full speed ahead. After enduring several years of extreme challenges in the real estate market, the prospect of what lies ahead is far lass daunting. Those of us (19 comments)
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